Commissioning Services for a Living, Observable Science Lesson: Shady Side Academy

When Shady Side Academy Senior School – a high school with a 130-acre campus in the Fox Chapel suburb of Pittsburgh – sought out Allen & Shariff to not only complete mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection design but also for the firm’s commissioning service, it was an instant fit. As a science-based learning building seeking LEED certification, the school’s new, state-of-the-art McIlroy Center for Science and Innovation emulates the values of sustainable design that the firm strives to uphold – and serves as a living, observable science lesson for the students and faculty who learn and teach within it.

“Because of our expertise in sustainable building practices and LEED accreditation, this was the perfect project for us,” said project manager Diane Bookwalter. “We intentionally seek out community-oriented green building work because it aligns so closely with our values and our capabilities.”

The $11 million project brings the school’s science program into the new century, with 10 flexible classroom and lab spaces for physics, biology and chemistry, as well as larger spaces for research, collaboration, and independent study. A special projects room adjacent to the faculty office provides students with supervised access to research space throughout the school day. Thanks to these new college level labs and facilities, Shady Side can teach high school students at a whole new level, preparing them for college and attracting new students.

Coinciding with LEED certification, Allen & Shariff provided commissioning services to ensure that fundamental building systems and components were designed, installed, and performed as intended. With a rain garden to collect runoff, solar panels as an electric power source, energy-efficient windows, water-saving plumbing, motion-sensitive lighting and more, the building’s green design reduces environmental impact and serves as a science and innovation teaching tool at the same time. Working closely with Strada Architecture, Allen & Shariff played a key role in setting the McIlroy Center – which is now Gold-LEED certified – up for success.

Learn more about Allen & Shariff’s commissioning services, as well as our work with sustainable design and K-12 and higher education.

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